March 12, 2023: It’s been three years since the WHO (World Health Organisation) declared the coronavirus disease as a ‘pandemic’ on March 11, 2020. For 800 crore people on the planet, these three years were like an eternity.
Ever since the entire world went into emergency mode, the 800 crore residents of human civilisation got collectively tossed from one unprecedented world order to another.
For hundreds of crores of Earthlings for whom life came crashing down following the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was the onset of a dystopian New Dark Age. Most of us have become accustomed to the new abnormal, while a few of us have struggled to accept it.
Apart from the deadly respiratory disease, the human race had to deal with unhealthy lockdowns, classist physical distancing diktats (wrongfully termed ‘social distancing’), widespread job losses, mass wipe-out of small businesses, Orwellian vaccine mandates, a suspicious rise in surveillance states, an unacknowledged return of Apartheid, and many other rights violations.
But at the other end of the spectrum, or rather, at the top of the pyramid of social stature, the outlook is completely different. For the folks on the ivory tower of wealth, privilege, and power, the coronavirus pandemic gave them powers, breakthroughs, and windfalls that they’d never tasted in the pre-Covid world.
ONE PANDEMIC, TWO WORLDS
In simple words, the impact of the pandemic reconfirmed that there are two worlds on planet Earth. Two highly contrasting worlds.
One world is a numerically tiny but wealth-wise and power-wise insulated one. It benefited enormously from the New Dark Age. The other world, meanwhile, comprises the vast majority of people who faced the wrath of the attempted Great Reset that came with the pandemic.
While these two worlds are mutually exclusive of one another, they share a one-sided parasitic relationship. As we lived through the new abnormal for three years, the opportunistic ‘tiny world’ benefited massively by shepherding and marginalising the unsuspecting ‘larger world’ in multiple ways.
Let’s place the magnifying glass over this ‘tiny world’ to understand who benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic – and precisely how.
No prizes for guessing who hit the biggest jackpot of the post-2020 world. It’s collectively the pharmaceutical industry, or to put it more bluntly, the owners of the influential vaccine companies that raced against time to hurriedly manufacture jabs against the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
Since the uneasy winter of 2020-2021, a handful of vaccine makers around the globe made the logic-defying claim of having successfully created the silver bullet. Thanks to the influence of the pro-pharma mainstream media, it struck very few people that a mass-use vaccine can’t simply be created in a year’s time. It’s technically impossible to do so. That sort of thing historically takes years, even decades, of rigorous testing and trialling, before being approved for commercial use.
It’s sheer science and common sense. Any overnight silver bullet claim in the world of vaccines is driven by business opportunism, not science.
For reasons we’d never know, our belligerent vaccine makers were allowed to completely bypass the mandatory test of time. In 2021 and thereafter, billions of unsuspecting human beings were hurriedly given untested jabs under the naïve-sounding banner of ‘EUA’ or emergency-use authorisation.
Unpopular vaccine mandates and the mainstream media’s pro-vaccine advocacy served as catalysts to pull off the riskiest medical project of our times. In no time, we had a tiny bunch of pharma companies sitting pretty, having sold and delivered millions and millions and millions of poorly tested Covid-19 vaccines on every continent – including Antarctica!
While the vaccine giants scooped up hefty profits, there were other winners from the larger medical industry. Hospital chains minted money by upgrading cheaper, routine wards into expensive ICUs dedicated for Covid-19 patients.
It’s another debate that many panic-stricken Covid patients actually didn’t require exorbitant ICU beds. Routine flu treatment would have been sufficient for many of them to shrug off the ailment. Sadly, they were gaslighted by the hype and fear-mongering industry into checking into ICUs and spending fortunes.
The crisis profiteering by a few large hospital chains was hardly questioned in primetime TV debates, while the unacceptable trend of crores of people with routine flu-like symptoms dying shortly after hospitalisation was barely highlighted or investigated.
Add to this, the ecstatic owners of medical companies that made quick bucks from the ballooning sale of sanitisers, face masks, PPT kits, and all sorts of anti-flu medication, both preventive and SOS.
During these three years, Big Pharma made a ‘killing’, in every sense of the word.
That puts the spotlight on the WHO, the Geneva-based international health agency that witnessed its powers shoot up since the start of 2020. From arbitrary and sometimes logic-defying announcements, to hilarious flip-flops in its messaging to the world, to openly toeing the medical industry line, the WHO showed us that it is indeed as immensely powerful as other top global institutions such the UN (its parent body), World Bank, IMF, NATO, and Interpol.
As televisions ran scary headlines all day long about the WHO’s updates and recommendations, the revolving doors of the pharma business came under the scanner, especially the role of medical industry bigwigs and external foundations in how the WHO functions.
Next on the list of big-time gainers from the pandemic are governments and authorities around the world, which went on to taste and exercise newfound powers since March 2020.
For many world leaders, diplomats, and bureaucratic elites, the pandemic was like playing a video game in ‘god mode’ where you get to scoot your way up all the levels undefeated by using cheat codes.
From elected political outfits, to one-party regimes, to military dictatorships, to de facto colonies – those in charge of governance tripped over each other trying to police the masses into accepting the new abnormal. By exercising their full-spectrum powers for the first time ever, they realised they’re in pole position to try out novel ways of controlling the public.
Another huge gainer from the pandemic was, and is, the small but powerful clique of Big Business giants, who consolidated their positions in the market after lockdowns swept away millions of small and medium businesses. Once the hard lockdowns arrived and human beings paused dealing with domestic and hyperlocal businesses, the monopolies and oligopolies rushed in and filled up the vacuum.
Thanks to season-long shutdowns, a handful of conglomerates and MNCs with the luxury of having deep pockets grabbed a larger and wider share of the essentials and non-essentials marketplace, muscling out smaller and weaker competition for good.
Recall how during the peak of the confinements, people resorted to ordering everything they needed under the sun for home delivery. Who catered to those needs at that time? Mostly, the very large businesses.
Next up, the pandemic measures opened up a whole new world of opportunities and profits for a bouquet of technological companies. Many of them are headquartered in the US state of California, the world’s tech capital.
With workforces confined to chipping in from home, the world witnessed an unprecedented jump in the demand for laptops, desktops, and all sorts of so-called smart gadgets that people needed for working from home. Transnational companies that manufacture the tech stuff saw their production and sales literally explode during 2020 and 2021, thanks to the WFH phenomenon.
Add to that the communications software industry, which also witnessed a gigantic jump in demand among workforces. Following a worldwide lockdown on physical offices, the work-from-home employee class had to rely on a handful of new and existing video calling software for office meetings and day-to-day work processes.
Effectively, the stakeholders in the internet-based communications industry saw their businesses roar and profits soar during the peak of the pandemic. Also, the owners of digital payment platforms as well as online gaming companies experienced a similar jump in their respective spheres, spurred by lengthy lockdowns and physical distancing norms.
The big owners of the mainstream media industry, too, had a fruitful time during the pandemic, witnessing a phenomenal jump in public attention. In the years leading up to 2020, television news viewership and newspaper readership were steadily going down. But the pandemic helped revive the mainstream media business, especially the TV journalism industry.
During months of lockdowns, people around the world were glued to television sets 24X7, catching Covid-related updates and announcements from the WHO and domestic authorities, and keeping track of the rising number of Covid-19 infections and deaths dished out as alerts all day long.
As TV news viewership hit through the roof, Big Media owners saw their clout and market value shoot up. Smaller media houses, however, failed to compete with the big ones and shrunk further, eventually resorting to retrenching workforces.
It looks like there were a lot of gainers. But it’s only a ‘tiny world’ of folks who walked away from this mess smiling. Let’s now look at the vast, vast majority of powerless people whose lives were left dented and mangled ever since the pandemic was declared.
The elderly population all over the world, especially those residing in the richer countries, were dealt quite a blow during the three years of the pandemic. There’s a fierce debate underway, meanwhile, on why aged people in poorer countries, and in rural settings have been impacted less compared to those living in leafy, organised, and less congested urban settings.
Additionally, the months-long hard lockdowns and related restrictions on outdoor movements forced many senior citizens to remain locked indoors. In recent times, many of them have been lamenting it, saying the lockdowns have made them much weaker and less agile than before.
People with comorbidities, too, had a harrowing time, with the virus aggravating their pre-existing ailments and triggering fatalities that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. The virus was genuinely harsh on them.
Among several major losses inflicted on the masses was the spectacular culling of jobs and contractual work. In rich countries as well as poor ones, the years 2020 and 2021 saw workforces experience the pain and trauma of sackings, unending salary delays, and the shrinking of wages.
Pandemic-driven firings were like a nightmare that the employed class lived through for those two disturbing years. Every other day, we would get news of mass sackings in various industries due to shrinking economic activity and dwindling business.
The March 11, 2020 declaration of the pandemic also served as a death knell for lakhs and lakhs of small and medium businesses across continents, especially in countries home to the poorer half of the global population.
Once hard lockdowns came into force and outdoor life came to a grinding halt, the writing was on the wall for roadside businesses, mom-and-pop shops, hyperlocal departmental stores, food and veggie stalls on carts, and cash-dependent domestic companies.
Indian cities and suburbs are a case in point, where the struggling owners of roadside shops on wheels selling perishables were dealt a blinding blow by the shock imposition of lockdowns. Countless such unorganised marketplaces simply vanished out of sight. With street-life wearing a deserted look for weeks and months, stall owners wrapped up their modest belongings in the city and retreated to cash-strapped villages.
A gigantic disruption was felt by a huge number of migrant workers dwelling in the cities of poor countries. It is estimated that in India, the lockdown call and other negative effects of pandemic-related moves dented the lives of several hundred million migrants.
The chilling visuals of lakhs of migrants leaving lockdown-hit Indian cities on foot and desperately heading back to their villages that are hundreds of kilometres away will remain as the darkest and most disturbing chapter of India’s pandemic story.
A crucial loss for the human race during the last couple of years was the harm caused to people’s natural immunity via the mass vaccination campaign. As crores of people queued up and took the jab, the largely untested vaccines’ experimental nature replaced the human body’s natural immunity, expectedly sparking a rising number of adverse reactions and deaths.
Doctors, scientists, and activists kept warning – only in vain – about looming health-related complications that a small but significant percentage of people would experience in the days to come as a result of the vaccine superseding natural immunity.
Two years into the vaccination drive, we are already witnessing a steady rise in heart-related problems, cardiac arrests, and neurological ailments across the planet. We’re are also experiencing a slow but steady upward tick in excess deaths.
Children across the world also suffered. While schools were shut during hard lockdowns, many of them continued to teach online despite a phased end to hard restrictions and physical distancing diktats.
While the trend of schools going online was documented by the mainstream media, the same press hardly bothered to dig deep and report on the drastic drop in the quality of education as primary and secondary schooling went online.
Moreover, long-distance schooling created a class-based divide between students from affluent families and kids from poorer households. While well-off parents were lucky to be able to arm their children with smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops required for attending classes online from home, financially unstable families couldn’t afford to buy the gadgets, leaving their kids falling behind in school. The divide caused irreversible damage.
In another unnerving turn of events, the pandemic gifted to the human race two new ‘Apartheids’ – one in which the rich began distancing themselves from the poor citing virus fears, and another in which the jabbed started to keep the unjabbed at bay.
In the leafy suburbs of big cities, including in India, gated communities or housing societies turned snobbier than ever before, bringing Apartheid back from the dead. On the pretext of staying safe, the well-to-do owners of these artificial neighbourhoods brought in never-before-seen rules disallowing blue-collared workforces such as maids, cooks, cleaners, delivery staff, etc. from getting equal access to elevators and common passageways.
The northern Indian city of Noida is a case point here, where the management of numerous housing societies designating separate lifts, separate seating arrangements, and additional surveillance systems for blue-collar working class going about their work.
Most of the virus-related restrictions have now been lifted in Noida, but the new Apartheid seems to have become permanent.
The other Apartheid the pandemic has given us, of course, is the rise in toxicity in the relationship between those who hastily took the jab and those who mindfully avoided it. The difference between the jabbed and unjabbed has become so ingrained in society since 2021 that even many employers around the world compelled their staff to quit for not taking the vaccine.
Effectively, the minority of unjabbed people are seen by the jabbed majority not as critical-thinking people, but mostly as anti-science, irresponsible people who’re putting others’ lives at risk.
Yet another big sufferer of the pandemic blues is the class of the people who rely largely on cash use, and not on digital transactions, for their livelihoods and survival.
With a growing trend of people treating strangers with suspicion – thanks to the dark culture of physical distancing – exchanging cash went out of fashion across many walks of life, leaving cash-dependent people in trouble.
So, while the peak of the pandemic had plunged the entire human race into darkness, it also widened the gulf between the haves and have-nots, as listed in this ‘pandemic report card’. A tiny bunch ended up at the right end of the gun, and a vast majority stared down the wrong end of the barrel.
The virus that causes Covid-19 may someday be gone from our lives. But the virus of social divide resulting from the WHO’s pandemic call and its aftermath threatens to linger on for a long, long time.
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